Atul and Ezra
Ezra Klein, writer and founder of Vox Media, interviews “surgeon, writer, researcher, dilettante” Atul Gawande for his podcast The Ezra Klein Show on Panoply Media. (Ezra can’t contain his utter excitement at doing this interview, which he says he has wanted to do “for a long, long time.”) They talk about Atul’s entire creative repertoire: politics, writing, surgical and quality improvement research and innovation, organizational leadership, and yes, a short-lived music career.
02:35 – Atul answers the question: “What’s the most interesting thing you’re working on now?”
08:28 – We learn about a young Atul’s time in politics, including his start stuffing envelopes for Gary Hart as a college student at Stanford.
17:35 – Atul talks about how his passion for surgery was unexpected…he had previously expected to go into internal medicine for residency, then go back to politics.
22:30 – Ezra and Atul compare notes on what they consider the most painful part of writing. Atul writes his first draft longhand, and it’s the most painful part of the story-writing process for him…he loves the research and editing. Ezra loves the writing, but hates the editing.
1:06:02 – Atul shares his short-lived dreams of being a musician (that his daughter Hunter is now carrying out, more successfully, he says) and how his book The Checklist Manifesto inspired Rivers Cuomo of Weezer to start using checklists for songwriting.
1:28:15 – Atul shares the physician-writers who inspired him, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Oliver Sacks, and Abraham Verghese (who he says was additionally inspirational due to a common identity as physician-writers of Indian descent).
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